Digest...

October 29, 2007

My Excting Life In ROCK: 23/10/2007

Filed under: mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 11:28 am

I don’t want us to get off on the wrong foot with all of this - my last entry may have led you to believe that My Exciting Life In ROCK has been a whirlygig of excitement, violence, sexual tension and TRIUMPH. To my great regret, this is not entirely true - the next batch of gigs I did were MISERABLE.

I mentioned last time that I’d just put out a single, which WAS true, although it also featured John Sims (a band from Leicester and NOT The Master) and two London bands, so technically it was a SPLIT. It felt like a Solo Single to me though, and it certainly sounded like it when I told EVERYONE I KNEW.

In order to promote the single Sean Fortuna Pop (for it was he) had booked us a string of gigs, the next of which was in Warrington. Looking back, maybe the fact that neither the London bands NOR Sean himself had decided to come along should have tipped us off, but me and the John Sims lot were too EXCITED at the prospect of going on a SINGLE PROMOTION TOUR to notice, so we piled into a bunch of cars and set off on the long drive north to Warrington. We were ON THE ROAD!

At that time Chris Evans was somehow seen as a Good Thing, so when we got to his home town we were surprised by the lack of pop stars and media personalities, and the excess of chip wrappers, vomit, and fighting - it would have been at least understandable if we’d arrived at midnight on a Saturday, but less so at tea-time on a Thursday.

The venue was an absolutely massive old coaching hotel with one tiny little pub still functioning in the bottom left hand corner and the rest of the building abandoned to spiders and cardboard boxes. The cars began to look like The Mystery Machine, and I felt a sudden urge for Scooby Snacks.

We climbed up several flights of stairs and suddenly found ourselves in an old fashioned ballroom, at the distant end of which we were going to be playing. We hiked through a drizzle of falling plaster to the stage, did our soundchecks, and were escorted to another, darker, floor where our dressing rooms were. Being new to all this we swanked about for a bit saying “Ooh, i’m in my dressing room” until we realised that there was no bar, or lighting, or people, just a faintly haunted odour, and so went back downstairs to find that the audience had arrived.

They were all about 13. OK, maybe some of them were 14, but basically it was Schoolkids On The Piss, and the entire building was PACKED with young teenagers snogging, drinking, pubescing, playing tig, snogging, smoking, being sick, and snogging. It was like being a Supply Teacher roped in to a field trip, you couldn’t go round a corner without surprising two YOUTHS dribbling spit down each other’s front, and i lost count of the amount of Spookily Deserted Staircases I fell down having tripped over writhing tots, grappling with trainer bras.

The gig itself was VERY exciting for the first ten minutes, as The Kids all ran in to watch, with boys all down one side of the room and girls on the other, but then they realised that there was SNOGGING and under-age drinking to do, so left us alone to carry on with our old people’s duties.

We dutifully finished off our sets and applauded each other before dragging ourselves to the cars to go home. As we were getting in there was a fight right in front of our bonnet, and rather than being scary it was strangely reassuring to see some other people old enough to vote.

OK, that one had fighting in too, but I promise the next one won’t!

October 24, 2007

My Exciting Life In ROCK: 16/10/1997

Filed under: mj hibbett — mjhibbett @ 5:02 pm

Hello, i am MJ Hibbett and I am going to THRUST upon you some of the more thrilling / noteworthy / stupid (delete as appropriate) incidents from My Exciting Life In ROCK, and I thought I’d start with one from just over 10 years ago, in the quaint medieval town of Derby.

It was October 1997 and the world was a very different place - Britpop and Tony Blair still seemed like a good idea, the death of Princess Diana was on the front of all newspapers, not just the Daily Express, and people would still ring each other up on their home phones to say “Did you get my email?”

Some things, however, were the same then as they are today, and have been since the dawn of time - for example, Local Bands. All bands are local somewhere, but there’s a special kind of local band who deserve the capitalisation - they’ve always got too many members, they always think they’re FANTASTIC, they always play jazz funk (even if they’re pretending to be Pete Doherty or Nirvana, underneath it all they’re jazz funk), they always bring a crowd of people with them who’ve never been to a gig before, and they’re always BLOODY AWFUL.

On this occasion WISE HEADS who were organising the gig (my friend Rob) had seen what was coming and told the Local Band that, really, THEY should be headlining. This is always a brilliant thing to tell Local Bands as, not being the sort of people who actually GO to gigs, think this means that a) everyone has recognised their immense genius and wishes to recognise it and b) they’ll have the biggest crowd, JUST LIKE IN THE COMMITMENTS. What it ACTUALLY means is that the other bands want to either go home or to another pub and not have to listen to their ghastly slap bass/pony-tailed bollocks.

Unfortunately it also means that the Local Band get to soundcheck first, and so take YEARS to do it just in case Mr Big from Big Records happens to drop in to The Victoria Inn, Derby on a Thursday night looking for hot new acts with the Right Attitude and a Crisp New Sound, also JAZZ FUNK. THUS the band who were meant to be headlining, but were actually going on FIRST instead, got a very brief line-check and did a shortened set to allow me time to get on, which I was just about to do when I ran into Local Band Bass Player, who said “Yeah, look, we want to do a 90 minute set, so I don’t think there’s going to be time for you to play. Sorry mate.” He expected me to say “Of course - why, your JAZZ FUNK escapades are worth it, go ahead!” instead of which i turned and looked at the Venue Manager, who had seen MANY of these TYPES, who said “No, you’ll do 40 minutes and that’s that.”

They didn’t like this, so I thought I’d better get on quick to get on with it, and things started off pretty well - one BRILLIANT thing about playing with Local Bands is that, as I say, their friends have pretty much never been to a gig, and so are impressed by EVERYTHING. You know how it is when your Auntie goes to see a West End Musical and comes back saying “The lights were brilliant! The seats were amazing! The programme was luxurious”? It’s like THAT - except that your Auntie DOESN’T take a Rival Performance Cast along with her, who get INCREASINLY irate that the glory which should be THEIRS is shared out. HA! The best thing about this is that it’s ALWAYS the lead singer’s girlfriend who starts to DANCE - ALWAYS!

Fed up with me gyrating their ladies they took to HECKLING and when that resulted NOT in me running off in tears but instead altering the words of songs to include a) their names b) rude words, they decided instead to start setting up. At first I didn’t mind this, we were all a bit rushed so if they wanted to start assembling their HUGE SCAFFOLDING OF DRUMS quietly behind me, I didn’t mind. I didn’t even mind THAT much when their drummer started joining in, as he at least had a sense of rhythm, but when the bass player got going i had to say WORDS. RUDE WORDS.

“That’s your last one mate!” said the singer. “No it’s not”, i said. “This is my SINGLE!” It’s a measure of how very very long ago this all was that, in those days, having a single out was SOMETHING AMAZING. This was way way before any kind of popular internet, so to GET a record you HAD to go into a record shop and buy it, which meant that to put one out you had to find a Proper (ish) record company to do it for you. The fact that I’d managed this and the Local Band HADN’T threw them into apoplexy, especially when I added “… which is more than any of these [flipping] [chaps] will ever be able to say.”

EVERYONE in the room - including girlfriends - LARFED and cheered, I did my song with ADDED SWEARING, and SWANNED offstage to Not Entirely Ironic calls for an encore. It was BRILLIANT, and we all spent a very happy HOUR sitting in the main pub drinking the BEER and slagging off the other band… who were jazz funking away to about three people next door.

Once they’d finished the bass player came in IRATELY and tried to make SMART CONVERSATION with us. We started off being polite, but he kept saying “Hur! Yeah, that’s because you’re shit, i expect!” and “Shut it, four eyes” and things of that ILK, so UNPLEASANT WORDS followed. I don’t really like this sort of thing, I must say - as Michael Jagger correctly pointed out, it IS only Rock and Roll and, honestly, away from the tomfoolery of the stage there’s no need for Language. Things came to a very unpleasant head when Ann, singer in the first band, got up to go to the toilet and The Bass Player followed her, calling her all SORTS of rude things.

Dave The Drummer, her boyfriend, said “Could you stop that now please?” to which the Bass Player replied “Or what? Are you going to hit me? Hit me then, come on, right here.”

He proffered his chin and Dave, understandably, WALLOPED him, sending him FLYING across the mosh pit. IT! WAS! AMAZING!

And also terrible. Violence is a bad thing.

… but also AMAZING! COR! He completed DECKED him, it was BRILLIANT! At this point EVERYBODY in Derby formed an orderly queue to apologise to me, a visitor from Leicester, for this terrible display. Coachloads of old ladies, grocers and school children arrived to join in the mortification while i stood there grinning like a LOON thinking “WOW! This NEVER happens in The Princess Charlotte!”

October 12, 2007

Now That, I Do Like…

Filed under: music, reviews, authors, Topics, Dr T. — drt @ 6:28 am

Once again Phoenix Phil has selected some cuts for me to cast my withering eye of musical authoritarianism over. Another poor selection, which does little to make me homesick for old Blighty.

Maximo Park - Girls Who Play Guitar
Instant minus points for sloppy grammar. And the singer’s wearing a hat. A hat. It’s the sort of thing that makes me want to side with James Spader and bully Duckie.
If you had played this song to me 10 years ago, I would have told you that “This ‘A’ album is on the wrong speed.”

Judging by the singing, Maximo Park are from up North, perhaps they’re geordies. Unfortunately so are The Wildhearts, a band who sh!t all over Maximo Park from such a great height, their Wildheart poos become little meteorites on their way down.

The video is your bog standard band live miming with the fan club invited in for the crowd shots. Ho hum. Almost makes me pine for Feeder.

Athlete - Hurricane
You see, the problem with Athlete’s career path is that they’ve just skipped to the ‘Sold Out Coldplay nonsense’ part, missing out on the traditional arc of Angry Beginnings, Just Signed Optimism, Grand Designs, Disillusionment, and Debt.

Musically redundant and creatively dead. What’s wrong with people these days, and their attitude of “sod it, this’ll have to do, hope we can get an advert contract.”

I gave you a fair hearing Athlete, and I find you guilty of musical negligence. Your punishment is to listen to the song ‘The Hive’ by Jimmy Webb (sung by Richard Harris) over and over and over and over until you are driven to the brink of madness.

And your video was crap too. Lots of little building blocks being animated and doing not a lot. Build me a wall dammit, I feel one of my turns coming on…

Babyshambles - Delivery
Weren’t The Libertines fun? At least they didn’t skip straight to ripping off Coldplay. And kudos must be given to Pete ‘Needles’ Doherty for ripping off ‘On A Rope’ by Rocket From The Crypt, in his song ‘Delivery’.

Of course he gets minus points for wearing a hat in the video. And for being in the video too much. Delivery, misery… At least it’s well timed for those postal strikes.

Unfortunately the song is about the song being delivery straight to his lover’s heart (is he still going out with Kate Moss? Actually, don’t tell me, I don’t care). Yes, it’s a ‘meta song’ a song about a song. I suppose if he were to write her a poem it would go:

This is a poem about
The poem I’m sending out
That you are reading
Words I am writing
This poem right now
I just don’t know how
Being a proper cockernee
Show me to the skag please.

I am so unimpressed with this song, only a youtube search for the ‘Pain For Pleasure’ bit of ‘Fat Lip’ by Sum 41 can brighten my day.
Aah that was a lot of fun.

Anyway, now I DO LIKE…
Girls Aloud - Sexy! No No No
Or more correctly: Sexy! yes. Yes. YES! Except they’re looking a bit gothy in this video, which is a bit of a turn off frankly. Nice PVC catsuits though.

Actually the song isn’t as good as some of their earlier stuff, but being a man of principles, I must teach these lazy indie boys a lesson and recommend some corporate pop over their shallow outpourings. People’s standards are so low these days, and real musical appreciation has reached such a nadir, it’s only fitting that a gaggle of lovely girls can hold my attention for longer than the tepid whining of these unimaginative pricks with guitars.

In the Girls Aloud video, the concept appears to be that they are in a pin cushion. Girls Aloud are pin cushions if you will. Now that’s a new euphemism to my tired ears…

October 4, 2007

Have I Got Tunes For You

Filed under: music, editorial, authors, Tamla Tim — tamlatim @ 2:15 pm

Tamla Tim’s current affairs based mixtapes.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading the papers and catching up on world events I like to have an accompanying soundtrack and I thought it might be nice to share some of these current affairs compilations with you. PopArt naturally seeks to inform and educate as well as entertain. If you’re too young to know what a mixtape is just substitute ‘i-pod playlist’ or ‘range of ringtones’.
So this week we find out what I’ve been listening to whilst keeping abreast of all the news surrounding the strife at Northern Rock, who seem to have lent out more money than they could afford.  Which is quite an oversight given that they are a building society and are usually expected to be, you know, quite good with finances. Obviously I’ve been listening to a lot of Big Bank Hank, Northern Uproar, Money Mark and Broken Society but I like the lyrics to speak to me, so the final tape was:
Straight To The Bank – 50 Cent
Fiddy is first in that long queue snaking down the High Street.  “It go all the way down past Greg’s the bakers and Halfords. Gotta get my hands on them Benjamins, which mean getting in a motha fuckin line again for the Bureau de Change.  This some fucked up shit.”  He might have said had he really been involved.
The Old Account – Jonny Cash
Like his ‘Essential Collection’ best of, Johnny is good value on this mixtape.  He’s keen to see if there’s any money (or ‘Cash’) left in ‘The Old Account’.  Not to mention the fact that, given the long queues, he slowly but surely ‘Walks The Line’.
Love Me Tender – Elvis
In his more well known Memphis drawl, this is a beautiful love song, but the American thing was just a marketing gimmick, Elvis was actually from Barnsley and most of his sizeable funds rest in the local Northern Rock.  In his native gruff Yorkshire brogue he’s heard to say “Ah best still be able t’get me brass from t’bank.  I love me tender, tha knows.”  Oh, and that means he’s not dead either, obviously.
In The Waiting Line – REM
Yes, REM are there too.
Part Of The Queue – Oasis
Yes, and Oasis.  Liam only wanted to cash a cheque he got for his birthday.
Northern Whale – The Good, The Bad and The Queen
I hope they don’t bump into Liam in the queue, all hell could break loose if the Gallaghers suspect their Southern nemesis to be poking fun at the plight of the North or accusing anyone of ‘wailing’ over the Northern Rock crisis.  “No, it’s not ‘wailing’, it’s whale.  As in a large sea mammal. I’m not saying you’re wailing.  I’m not saying you go whaling either,” Damon pleads with little success.  “Alright then, but don’t hit the face; I’ve got a photo shoot for my new range of braces and bowler hats tomorrow. Erm … guv’ner.  Apples and pears and such and such.”
Home Loan Blues – Simply Red
I’ll be honest I didn’t listen to this one.  Relevant title, shit song.
Panic – The Smiths
That’s right Moz, there is indeed panic on the streets, especially of Humberside, Leeds side-streets that you slip down and provincial towns you jog round.  But being British we panic by forming a polite orderly queue and muttering under our breath.  At least when we get home we can have a nice cup of tea and a sit down.  Oh, the house has been repossessed?  And the chair and the kettle and the tea?  Ah well, mustn’t grumble.
Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
Yes, indeed, save tonight but save it in cash under the mattress or in suitcases in the attic like Ken Dodd.  It seems our financial institutions are run by no more than vagabonds and fly by nights.
Nothing Left To Borrow – Jayhawks
Succinct analysis from the Ohio purveyors of alt country.  That’s about the size of it lads.
Account For What? – Black Flag
The, to say the least, imposing figure of Henry Rollins demands, not unreasonably, of the bank clerk what his current account is for if they’re going to go and piss all his money away and then call Ocean finance to help dig themselves deeper into the mire like the all the other idiots, and consolidate all their debts into one convenient heap of misery. “Erm … ‘No Deposit, No Return’?” replies the clerk, wittily referring to the track from Black Flag’s “Family Man”.  Rollins remains unimpressed and expresses his displeasure by making the clerk swallow a revolving leaflet stand.  Whole.
And that’s it, I’m feel eternally grateful I haven’t got any money anyway and haven’t lost anything and file away my Northern Rock Crisis mixtape.  What tunes will we have for you next time? Only the news gods know.

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